At a press conference on Friday, Jean-Luc Biamonti, CEO of the Société des bains de mer (SBM) Group released the company's annual results for 2020/2021. Monaco’s largest public employer reported a turnover of €336.9 million for the entire financial year, a decrease of 46% from €619.8 million in 2019/2020.
However, for Q1 2021 business activity was up €65.7 million to €110.9 million compared to €45.1 million in the previous year (although it is still 37% below revenue from Q1 2019/2020). For July/August, activity increased 53% compared to the previous year (and down 19% from 2019)
It also announced the Café de Paris will close for 10 to 12 months as it undergoes renovation from the first half of 2022 in. A second kitchen is to be added, the first floor terrace to the Salon Bellevue will be extended and the other side of the building will open up to include garden views with an estimated reopening date of June 2023. The casino will remain open during the work.
Detailing its finances, SBM said the drop of €282.9 million in turnover is a direct consequence the pandemic, which hit hard the gaming and hotel/catering sectors. While the company implemented “a drastic reduction in operating and capital expenses” during lockdown and relied on government support in the form of its Reinforced Total Temporary Unemployment (CTTR) scheme, it was forced to introduce a global restructuring plan on March 4 of this year. In the 2020/2021 results, this plan—which saw 234 employees volunteer for redundancy and two people’s contracts terminated—recorded a fiscal net cost of €25.3 million.
Other takeaways from the 2020/2021 report included the cost of €7.5 million for the closure of the Sun Casino and an operating loss of -€103.3 million compared to a profit of €22.6 million last year—a decrease of €125.9 million—despite a 37% year-on-year reduction in operating expenses (excluding depreciation and amortisation and the restructuring plan).
Additionally, equity accounting consolidation of Betclic Everest Group, the online gaming group of which SBM Group holds a 50% stake, requires the recognition of 50% of its net income for the period in question, resulting in a profit of €30.9 million, compared to a profit of €8.7 million last year. This is largely due to continued revenue growth despite the suspension of all sporting competitions at the beginning of the fiscal year as well as significantly reduced operating expenses.
The General Meeting of Shareholders renewed the authorisation granted to the Board to buyback Company shares, up to a limit of 5% of the share capital, at a maximum price of €90 per share and for a maximum total amount of €30 million. This authorisation is valid for a period of 18 months as from September 24, 2021.
The SBM Group stated it remains in close contact with its banking partners, who have made available credit facility which currently amounts to €150.8 million after a repayment of €26.4 million at the end of June, the next being at the end of December 2021 for the same amount. To complete its short-term financial resources, the Group set up a NEU CP (Negotiable European Commercial Paper) program in July 2019, for a maximum of €150 million. At the same time, the Monegasque State undertook to buy up any commercial paper that the SBM Group issues under this program and which fails to find an investor on the market for whatever reason, up to a total principal amount of €120 million. As of 23 September 2021, the total amount of commercial paper issued under this program stands at €110 million.
As of September 23, 2021, the SBM Group has more than €160 million in available cash, which includes a €30 million issue premium refund and dividend from BEG, the Group’s online gaming subsidiary, that it received in July.